If you thought waterlogging and potholes were the only civic problems you would face this monsoon, here is some bad news.
With the contract period of encroachment removal vans of all 24 wards in the city having expired and the civic body unable to evict or confiscate goods from illegal hawkers, your monsoon woes may soon multiply.
The contracts of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) 57 private encroachment vans and labourers expired on June7.
Hence, there are no encroachment vans in zone III (which includes areas from Bandra to Andheri), zone IV (from Andheri to Malad) and zone VI (from Kurla to Mulund).
Although officials claim eviction drives are on using vehicles owned by the civic body, there is only one such van in each ward which is used for multiple purposes such as evicting hawkers and other hutments.
Although the corporation invited tenders for these private vans on May 27, the tender process has been stalled since. “Contractors will be finalised in a month,” said Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.
However, this time, the BMC will be buying only 27 vans as compared to the total of 57 private vans it purchased earlier. “There is no requirement for 57 vans as most of them lie unused or underutilised,” added Adtani.
In the absence of these vans, the number of hawkers evicted from each ward has also decreased.
“Since there is only one van per ward, our action against hawkers has faced a setback,” said Bhagwan Sathe, superintendent, licence department, BMC.
Meanwhile, areas such as Linking Road in Bandra, premises of the Andheri station, Dadar, Vile Parle, Khar and Chembur have been encroached by hawkers once again.
“While the numbers of hawkers are increasing, the BMC is set to purchase lesser vans. This will only increase the common man’s woes,” said Aftab Siddqui, an activist said.